Technology addressing the world

Insight from Richard Greenhalgh, Redwing Development Director


At Redwing, we love it when complex technology makes life easier and simpler. It’s what we do for our clients day in, day out, and it’s why we love to see new innovative technologies like what3words helping to simplify the complex on a global scale.


What3words fixes the many challenges facing the world’s addressing systems with an easy-to-use solution which works anywhere in the world, on land or sea. Sometimes you have to sit back, take your hat off and applaud a brilliant idea.


They’ve divided the surface of the world into 57 trillion three-metre squares, and to each of these squares they've assigned a unique three word identifier (what3words). Fortunately, there are some 64 trillion combinations possible from the 40,000 or so available words, so there’s coverage with room to spare. You can find me as I write this at exchanges.upon.hood.


Like many ground-breaking ideas it’s based on great need, a simple concept and some pretty clever tech behind the scenes. According to what3words, 75% of the world either has poor or no addressing capability and, between countries, no two addressing systems are the same. This doesn’t even take account of the majority of the world’s surface where there are no roads or street names – imagine a seriously injured farmer in a remote field needing an airlift, but with no easy way to pinpoint his location to the rescue team. Now you have it.


Other location identifiers, such as latitude and longitude, or GPS, are very accurate but also user unfriendly and open to data keying errors. what3words simplifies everyone’s location to everyday words and is extending this across multiple languages (14 so far and growing).


There must be some pretty heavy lifting going on behind the scenes, with complex algorithms and mapping technology. The sales process is also complex, involving B2C (you and me to download the app), B2B (logistics, mapping, travel and every other business from one man bands to blue chip organisations) as well as B2G (governmental level, especially in less-developed parts of the world), but we think such a fantastic idea will eventually revolutionise global addressing.


Clever technology making things simple, we love it. If you’d like to find out how Redwing can help simplify your complex online needs, please come and talk to us. You’ll find us at

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